- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ROMNEY, W.Va. (AP) - Four people face misdemeanor charges stemming from an investigation of abuse allegations at a center for developmentally disabled adults and children in Romney.

Jennifer Flores of Romney and Augusta residents Joseph Moreland Jr., Denny Timbrook and Katrina Phillips are each charged with failure to report abuse or neglect. All three remain free on bond, Hampshire County Magistrate Ron DiColia said Tuesday.

West Virginia State Police arrested Flores on Friday and the others on Saturday, The Hampshire Review (https://bit.ly/1BQPzk2 ) reported.

State police began the investigation in January after upper management at the Potomac Center reported allegations of abuse to the state Department of Health and Human Resources. The DHHR removed 24 children from three intensive training program houses at the center and moved them to other facilities in the state.

State police have said up to 12 children who were removed, ages 7 to 17, were abuse victims.

Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling said at the time that children were subjected to “inhumane and degrading treatment by some employees of the Potomac Center Inc. facility.”

A lawsuit filed April 7 alleges that employees abused a 17-year-old former Potomac Center resident. It also claims the center was negligent in in hiring, training and supervising staff to prevent the alleged abuse. Bailey and Glasser, a Charleston law firm, filed the lawsuit in Hampshire County Circuit Court.

The nonprofit Potomac Center was established in 1980. It offers residential assistance and support to children and adults with developmental disabilities, along with respite for caregivers. It also manages a foster care program in Romney, Moorefield and Elkins.

The center, which is cooperating in the investigation, laid off 50 employees in January.

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Information from The Hampshire Review: https://www.hampshirereview.com/


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